Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Rest of "Me": Redemption

Okay, so you might remember that one time at the beginning of last month when I shared with you my *ahem* less than positive reaction to the opening book in Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series, in which I was comically rageful about how disappointing it was...until it wasn't.  Despite my distaste for a large percentage of the book, I found myself oddly engaged by the book's ending.  Ergo, instead of chalking up this series to a severe departure of my tastes from those of the masses who appear to have loved it and abandoning it after the first book without looking back, I plowed on into the second book, Unravel Me.

I don't usually bother myself with commenting on whole series of books because I figure I'm bound to accidentally spoil something and draw the ire of the spoiler-haters everywhere, not to mention who really wants to read reviews of books that are second and third in a series when you haven't read the first?  (This is usually the case with myself reading reviews.)  On this occasion, however, I figure that since I, a little too gleefully perhaps, gave the first book a public shaming, I should come forth having finished the series and confess that I, um, actually ended up really liking the rest of the series quite a lot.

(BTW, I'm not going to dish out summaries and spoil Unravel Me and Ignite Me, but I'm not guaranteeing this to be spoiler free when it comes to Shatter Me.  You've been warned.)

Anyhow, Mafi's outrageous hyperbole that aggravated me so much throughout Shatter Me is still present, but it's muted beneath the action of the plot and the development of main characters who I, at last, began to like.

I mean, there's still stuff like this little nugget that made me giggle at a tense moment when you're probably not supposed to be giggling -

"...and I feel my face flush so fast that for a moment I'm surprised I'm not standing in a toilet." 

But then, there's also this one which I actually thought was clever...

"The silence between us has slaughtered a thousand innocent seconds and when he finally speaks his voice is barely audible, raw with disbelief."

And then there's the end of this anecdote, which is hyperbole free, which so impressed me with how it cut right to heart of a major character (which is kind of a veiled spoiler if you happen to be familiar with the major characters, you could probably....guess)...

"And then she took it off, slipped it on my index finger, and said, 'If you hide your heart, he will never be able to take it from you.'"

(Spoilery?  See, I hate this.)

I also whined about main character Juliette's foolish wimpy-ness, and I'm happy to report that since she started out so foolish, wimpy, and generally insipid, she has plenty of room to grow in the latter two books and she does.  In fact, her transformation turns into the cornerstone of the book, even overshadowing the romance angle (at times).  Watching Juliette discover both her physical and emotional strength is definitely one of the highlights of the final book.  

(Not so spoilery...)

Anyhow, the bottom line, before I wander (too far) into spoiler territory, is that this series worked just like you hope a good series will.  It might have started off kind of, well, lame, but it got better and better.  I loved the romance I wasn't expecting.  All the characters I felt conflicted about in the first book, most especially Juliette herself, grow and change and transform into the characters I hoped they could be, strong and vulnerable in equal measure, but ultimately courageous enough to face their dystopian world head on.  Admittedly, the first book takes a little extra tenacity on the part of the reader, but, in my opinion, the second two books definitely make it worth the effort.

(Between the two of us, my mom and I bought these, all of them!  Ergo, no disclaimer!)


  1. I am glad you ended up liking the trilogy, Megan! I remember your first review. :-) It sounds like everything came together in the end. I would rather a series get better rather than worse ultimately.

  2. I enjoyed the first book, quite loved the second and have yet to read the third though it's here yelling at me and I'm dying to respond! I find Warner to be one of the most fascinating characters I've ever encountered, and I'm a little nervous to read that third book to find out what happens to him...

  3. I'm so behind on reading and books in general that I don't even have this one on my radar. :)

  4. The flushing line you quote does seem unintentionally funny! I don't think I was familiar with this trilogy, but it's always good to start one when it's already done and you know it's going to stay a trilogy and not become an ongoing series.